I Love a Fire Fighter : What the Family Needs to Know book cover
2nd Edition

I Love a Fire Fighter
What the Family Needs to Know

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  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 14, 2021
ISBN 9781462541003
July 14, 2021 Forthcoming by Guilford Press
336 Pages

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Book Description

What is the emotional toll on fire fighter families? There are ceaseless worries--about the physical dangers of the job, coping with anxiety, and long hours spent away from home. No one understands the mental health concerns of fire fighters and their loved ones better than psychologist Ellen Kirschman, who has dedicated her career to the treatment of first responders. This wise and no-nonsense guide--now fully revised to reflect the latest research and the ever-changing nature of the profession--shares compassionate advice and practical strategies for when times get tough. New to this edition are a chapter on the psychological effects of fighting wildfires, greater emphasis on the emotional experience of fire fighters (including how to deal with occupational hazards like trauma, marital stress, and substance use problems) and user-friendly quick-reference tips. Being a first responder is one of the toughest jobs--and one of the most worthwhile. With equal parts candor and wisdom, Dr. Kirschman shows not only what it’s like to be a fire fighter, but also how to make the fire fighter in your life feel understood and supported.

Table of Contents

I. Two In/Two Out: Building and Strengthening Your Resilient Relationship
1. The Givens and Realities of the Fire Service
2. Spillover: Managing the Relationship between Home and Work
3. Relationships: Signs of Trouble, Signs of Strength
II. Answering the Call: Fire Fighters and Their Careers
4. Profiles: The Fire Fighter Personality
5. Climbing the Career Ladder: From Recruitment to Retirement
III. Beyond Burning Buildings
6. Emergency Medical Services
7. Wildland Fire and Trauma
IV. The Hot Zone: Staying Safe
8. Injuries, Fatalities, and Challenges to Health
9. Improving Safety
V. Trauma and Stress
10. Trauma: An Overview
11. Protective Factors: A Caring Organization, Resilience, and Posttraumatic Growth
12. Getting Help for PTSI: What to Aim For, Where to Go
13. Families and Trauma
14. Helping Yourself
15. Children and Trauma
VI. Fire Fighters in Hot Water
16. Addiction and Arson
17. Domestic Abuse and Suicide
VII. Special Families
18. Fire-Fighting Couples
19. Diversity: Women, Ethnic Minorities, and LGBTQ Fire Fighters on the Job
VIII. Getting the Help You Need When You Need It
20. Counseling

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Ellen Kirschman, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, volunteer clinician at the First Responder Support Network, and sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator. Dr. Kirschman is a recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Police and Public Safety Psychology from the Police and Public Safety section of Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) of the American Psychological Association and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology award from the California Psychological Association. She is coauthor of a book for mental health professionals, Counseling Cops; author of the self-help guides I Love a Cop, Third Edition, and I Love a Fire Fighter, Second Edition; and writes a mystery series featuring police psychologist Dr. Dot Meyerhoff. She also blogs with Psychology Today and writes a newsletter. Her website is www.ellenkirschman.com.


"My fire fighter is retired now, but if we had to do it all again, this book would have been a priceless roadmap for many of the problems and emotions that we encountered throughout her career. The fire service is unlike any other profession--this is a 'must read' for all current and future firefighters and the people who love them."--Lisa H., fire fighter spouse

"Dr. Kirschman offers helpful insights into how fire fighters think, how the work can affect them, and how to take action for a healthy fire family. Not only is this book informative, it is also enjoyable to read. It is written in a conversational, no-nonsense style that makes you feel like you're engaging with the author. Each chapter includes strategies from seasoned fire fighters and their family members, as well as Dr. Kirschman’s extensive experience. The robust list of resources will help you continue improving your relationships and well-being."--Stephanie M. Conn, PhD, First Responder Psychology, Beaverton, Oregon; author of Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel

"I laughed and cried as I read this book--the personal experiences and insights really spoke to me. I had so many 'aha!' moments! I am left with a sense that I am not alone, and I now have tools to navigate the fire service world."--Chris S., fire fighter spouse

"My husband started his career as a volunteer/reserve and eventually worked his way to Fire Chief. I have referred to this book every step of the way and found it to be a priceless source of knowledge and guidance. Over the years, I have recommended and given this book to dozens of spouses and family members as the top resource for understanding this unique culture and lifestyle. There is no other guide as complete as this one!"--Kelly B., Fire Chief spouse

"The fire service culture is rich, unique, and full of tradition. Dr. Kirschman takes you through the interpersonal dynamics and lifestyle challenges that fire fighters face, and gives you real-world perspectives and advice."--Kristen Wheldon, PsyD, President, Fire Service Psychology Association-